The Sacramento Kings are 19-43, and there’s not much at stake over the last 20 games of the season, save for lottery ping pong balls. That’s how this season was always going to turn out, and after moving George Hill to Cleveland, the Kings can thrust rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox all the way into the spotlight to see what he can do. It turns out that he can make huge shots at the end of games. Three of the Kings’ wins involved Fox nailing a last-second basket, which is a rather impressive hit rate for a team squarely in the NBA’s toilet.
The first, from November against the Sixers:
Fox beat the Heat in Miami with an outrageous putback slam in January:
And last night, Fox scooted into space to hit a floater against the Nets. The Kings won in OT, 116-111:
As that last clip makes abundantly clear, Fox is one of the fastest players in the league, and he’s finally learning how to temper that speed and accelerate at the right moments to find space. Point guard is a notoriously difficult position to learn, especially on a poor offensive team like the Kings, but Fox’s quickness provides a fun weapon to play with along the way. He’s still very raw and doesn’t shoot particularly well, though his free-throw rate has basically doubled in 2018, which shows how much he’s improved at creating contact in the lane. That’ll be crucial, since he can get there at any time. Like fellow Kings rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, you can see the makings of a very good player in Fox. Once he bulks out and plays with some better scoring big men, he’ll be even more exciting to watch.
This season wasn’t really about results for the Kings—it was about development (which went okay). If management had its druthers, Thursday’s win would be the team’s last of the year. Who knows: Maybe Fox has another game-winner or two in him before the dust settles.